In the evolving educational landscape, embracing technology and artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance learning is no longer a novelty but a necessity. Today, we’ll explore how AI, particularly tools like ChatGPT, can significantly support neurodivergent students, including those with ADHD and autism. These insights are drawn from both an educator’s and student’s perspective, focusing on those in receipt of disabled students’ allowances.
Challenges for Neurodivergent Students
Neurodivergent students often face unique challenges in their academic journey. These challenges go beyond the usual punctuation, structure, and content, extending to processing information within a lecture, dealing with a lack of daily routine, and navigating hidden social rules.
The Role of AI in Enhancing Learning
AI has shown great promise in bridging these barriers for neurodivergent students. Here’s how:
- Understanding Lectures: AI can help interpret the lecturer’s intentions, deciphering learning outcomes, and explaining complex topics from various angles.
- Assisting with Lecture Notes: Tools like ChatGPT can help students digest lengthy lecture notes, pinpointing essential elements and supporting understanding.
- Reflective Discussion Tool: Using AI as a reflective discussion tool can facilitate personal development, planning study sessions, and venting frustrations, all contributing to a more fruitful learning experience.
Examples and Applications
Three illustrative examples were provided:
- Getting Inside the Lecturer’s Head: Asking AI to explain the learning outcomes and engaging with the understanding in a different way.
- Handling Lecture Transcripts: AI can help condense and make sense of comprehensive notes.
- AI as a Planning Tool: ChatGPT has been used as a daily reflection and planning tool, contributing to a more structured study routine.
The Impact on Learning and Concerns
The use of AI has helped students engage with learning beyond mere assessment. It fosters writing skill development and shifts the focus from solely grades to a more comprehensive learning experience.
There are, however, concerns:
- Data Protection Issues: The rights of individuals over their content on AI platforms is a subject that needs more exploration.
- Reluctance to Use AI: Some students may be hesitant to embrace AI, fearing risks. Ensuring students have a choice and understanding their concerns is vital.
In a world that is rapidly adapting to technological advancements, the integration of AI in education for neurodivergent students is proving to be a massive leap forward. By creating more inclusive, understanding, and adaptable learning environments, AI offers new pathways for students to not just survive but thrive in their educational journey.
With the focus on individual needs and personalisation, AI holds the potential to transform traditional education paradigms. By being aware of potential risks and working to address them, educators, mentors, and students themselves can harness AI’s immense potential to enrich and empower neurodivergent learners.
This post summarises a lecture by Liss Chard-Hall on AI and Neuroinclusivity: Navigating the Hidden Curriculum in Higher Education, hosted by Digitally Enhanced Education Webinars at the University of Kent. The lecture is available on YouTube.
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Amir-Homayoun Javadi, PhD
Founder and CEO at 0&1 LTD